The Center for Creative Connections (C3) welcomes the unique perspective of community partners through a series of C3 Community Partner Response Installations (CPRI). Installed in a central gallery for approximately six months, each CPRI is a response to the current exhibition in the Center and offers visitors an opportunity to consider the themes of the exhibition in new ways. CPRI are the products of close, collaborative, and interactive working relationships between community partners and DMA staff.
Sculpting Space: 299 Chairs is the sixth CPRI to be installed. Students and faculty from the Architecture Cluster at Skyline High School in the Dallas Independent School District created this installation of classroom chair assemblages that stretch, hang, fly, and twist throughout a central gallery in C3. For these students, the process of creating Sculpting Space involved the application of classroom ideas and concepts to a real-world scenario and fostered many new connections with the DMA and Dallas-based cunningham architects.
“In order for us to flourish and bloom as students, we must first open ourselves to new ideas.”—Alberto Huerta
“Working with more people, you will hear interesting ideas that you never would have thought of alone.”—Erica Jackson
Several months ago, the students began the project by sketching chairs. Skyline teachers Tom Cox and Peter Goldstein then led students in a variety of exercises including the study of negative and positive space in DMA artworks as well as investigating spatial concepts such as fluent, voluminous, implosion, organic, and rotating through the making of 2D drawings and 3D models. Several workshops with architects Gary Cunningham and Rizi Faruqui and DMA staff focused on how to connect the chairs, what connectors would hold the chair assemblages together, and how to consider the visitors’ experiences in a space sculpted by chairs. Along the way, three DISD elementary schools swapped out their old kindergarten chairs for new ones, thus providing the high school students with chairs full of character and marked with history.
Google Sketch-Up was used to build scale models of the gallery space, providing a blueprint for the final installation of the assemblages. Videos created by Element X Creative accompany the installation, documenting behind-the-scenes aspects of the project and featuring several Skyline students sharing their experiences.
“The one true connection we have made was with the chairs and when we were little kids. They bring back memories of childhood.”—Luis Garcia
“The new connections we make will be with the people that view our work. We will not be there to explain what we made, so we have to try to convey that in shape and form.”—Sandra Benitez
Sculpting Space: 299 Chairs will be on view in the Center for Creative Connections through October.
Nicole Stutzman is Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships.